From the Business Perspective Newsletter
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
This can definitely be said about the Leadership Overland Park class of 2021. They applied for the program with an uncertain future, participating masked, distanced, at times virtually, and finally unmasked, but always with passion and engagement with each other and our speakers – on fire about the future of Overland Park.
We began and ended the program with a SWOT analysis, digging in to how we might mitigate weaknesses and threats and optimize the strengths and opportunities to make Overland Park and this region THE CHOICE for families and businesses. We saw a slight shift in the SWOT from Opening Session to the Closing as the class thought process evolved from six months of subject analysis.
This year I asked the class to prepare Vision Statements for Overland Park. Here’s a sampling:
- Overland Park: work here, live here, thrive here.
- An inclusive community, providing top class amenities and opportunities for growth.
- Create a vibrant community, promote strong business, and be the choice city to raise a family, start a career or retire.
- To make Overland Park the multi-generational community of choice and preserve our status as a top-five ranked desirable place to work, learn, live and play for persons of diverse backgrounds.
- Overland Park is the premier Midwest city for growing and sustaining businesses and providing a high quality of life for its residents and visitors.
- To be a welcoming community that is diverse and equitable for all.
That’s a lot to aspire to, but I have great faith in this class and those who came before them. The passion and enthusiasm I’ve seen in their class sessions spill over in their professional and civic work. They give to a variety of organizations regionally and dream big for the future. The words they use are telling: thrive, vibrant, diverse, equitable, multi-generational, choice, welcoming. They didn’t just speak abstractly; they were specific about their vision. They were clear that we will not reach our vision without addressing big issues like transportation, affordable housing and DEI culture. One observation I thought particularly clarifying during the SWOT analysis was that DEI is a priority conversation, but it’s still a weakness in practice.
Overland Park recently received its latest accolade, #1 ranked “Best Place to Raise a Family from WalletHub. We’re proud of these “best places” rankings, but we know that better is always possible. One of the reasons the Chamber’s Foundation sponsors Leadership Overland Park is to ensure the sustainability of future leadership. These classes give me energy, and also the knowledge that Overland Park is moving forward and prepared for innovation. We’re taking nominations for LOP 2022. Contact us to learn more.
Tracey Osborne Oltjen, CCE, IOM
President & CEO